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SUMA calls on government to absorb retroactive RCMP pay costs

Yorkton anticipating a $1.4 M increase to its policing budget.
SUMA President, Randy Goulden.

On behalf of Saskatchewan’s hometowns, SUMA, in coordination with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and other provincial and territorial associations, is continuing to call on the federal government to absorb the retroactive pay costs associated with the new RCMP collective agreement. 

“Safety is a top priority in our hometowns, and we truly value the work of those protecting our communities,” said SUMA President Randy Goulden, adding, “but municipalities were not at the table when the retroactive RCMP pay increases were negotiated, and the associated costs significantly impact our municipal budgets.”

In President Goulden’s hometown of Yorkton, the city is anticipating a $1.4 M increase to its policing budget. The City of Swift Current is estimating at least $1 million in retroactive pay while for the City of North Battleford, the one-time retroactive wage payment is estimated to be $1.67 million in 2022. In Warman, the policing budget is anticipated to rise by more than 21.5 per cent, and for the Town of La Ronge, the estimate is a 16 per cent increase.

“Our hometowns cannot run deficit budgets, meaning increased costs in policing downloaded to municipalities need to be funded through increased taxes or reduction of municipal services,” said Goulden, “the recent pause in invoicing of retroactive RCMP salaries to municipalities was welcome news, but it is a band-aid solution. We need a solution that ensures our hometowns are not forced to make tough decisions on whether to make service cuts or pass the bill to residents.”

Earlier this year, municipal associations from western Canada collectively called on the federal government to cover the costs of the negotiated retroactive pay increases. In Saskatchewan, both the Minister of Corrections, Policing and Public Safety and former Leader of the Official Opposition supported SUMA’s call, sending letters to the federal government echoing the request for the Government of Canada to absorb the entire financial impact of the retroactive wage compensation for 2017-2021. Saskatchewan’s hometowns, along with SUMA, have also sent letters directly to the federal minister of public safety.

“The retroactive pay was negotiated by the federal government, and therefore the federal government should absorb the costs instead of shifting the burden to our hometowns, and our residents,” said Goulden. 

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